My beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown.[PHILIPPIANS 4 : 1]
The apostle Paul’s joy came from fellow believers. Today’s verse says the Philippian believers were his “joy and crown.” To the Thessalonian believers he likewise proclaimed, “What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy” (1 Thess. 2:19–20).
Paul rejoiced in the church’s salvation and spiritual growth, which is represented by the word crown. The term refers to a laurel wreath, something an athlete received in biblical times for winning a contest (1 Cor. 9:25). But an athlete wasn’t the only recipient of such a wreath. If someone was honored by his peers, he too would receive one as the guest of honor at a great feast or banquet. The wreath then was symbolic of success or a fruitful life. The Philippian believers were Paul’s reward—proof that his efforts were successful. As you minister your gifts, May you experience the kind of joy Paul had.
~ John MacArthur ~